German universities embrace Linux

A German state has signed a major contract with Novell for the supply of Linux server and desktop products to 33 universities

Forty percent of all German students are now supported by Linux systems, after a major contract was awarded to Novell.

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has selected Novell for the supply of its IT infrastructure, which will support 33 universities in the region. The universities serve 560,000 students and thousands of employees. The deal comes after similar university contracts were recently signed with Novell by the federal states of Bavaria and Thuringia, which support a further 300,000 students.

The larger North Rhine-Westphalia contract will see its universities use Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, along with Suse Linux Enterprise Server, Novell Open Enterprise Server, Novell Identity Manager and Novell ZENworks.

Novell said the universities chose its Linux offerings in order to deliver cost savings and flexibility, while avoiding vendor lock-in.

The deals are among the largest Linux migrations taking place in the European public sector.

The city of Amsterdam, along with nine other cities in the Netherlands, has embarked on a major Linux-adoption trial. Amsterdam wants to reduce the amount of Microsoft software it uses by implementing free, open-source software. The city's current contract with Microsoft is set to expire in 2008, although the city says it doesn't intend to end the use of the company's products, but just reduce its reliance on them. The cities of Eindhoven, Groningen and The Hague are among the other Dutch cities using government money to conduct Linux trials.

The city governments of Vienna and Munich are also developing their Linux platforms. However, Birmingham City Council axed its Linux rollout last year because it found that its Microsoft-based platform was cheaper.